Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Red Cliffs Of Dawlish
Red Cliffs Of Dawlish

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A Fisheries Forecast: "Easterly, slight - or moderate, falling slowly..."

This map! "40 yrs of high quality cod discards"... "A Sea of Opportunity" including the UK Continental Shelf Limit," the implications of "turning this over to common grazing" in the 1970's"... [The CFP] "is simply unfit for purpose... "MP's/MEP's who simply know nothing about Fishing".

This blog brings to the reader's attention: Select Committees - Brexit and Fisheries Committee: Sub-committee session on the impact of Brexit on fisheries with evidence from academics, from Wednesday 7 September.  A lot of this reconnects to the arguments fairly well made in FLEXCIT and from John Ashworth's The Betrayal of Britain's Fishing to the European Union.

It's worth watching. Why? If you happened to catch this evening's Newsnight A look at David Cameron's legacy, the future of the EU this topic has already been covered in the previous blog: Sunday Reading: The Political Tea Leaves of Brexit

There's too much "adversarial nonsense" or "noise" mixed into the Newsnight report from people with their own "filters" operating. Read the blog for a more accurate summary. However if you watch the above select committee on Fisheries it as previously recognized, acts as an exemplar of the "problem - solution - outcome" triangle recognized previously and a model of other patterns that will also operate in other policy areas. For example, some of the core themes that pervade a lot of the prominent communication concerning Brexit:-
  • "Hard vs Soft Brexit" in purely technical terms.
  • Achieving Brexit for the UK "legitimately" at the same time as dealing with EU and other International Implications of this or "resonance".
  • Coordinating the "public relations" of Brexit Negotiations.
  • Above all building a conceptual framework from which all the above take their relative meanings
Final point will be revisited in a subsequent blog, it's been mentioned previously in the blog under "intellectual architecture" from Dr. RAE North. One point to bring up here that the Select Committee fails to start with or "beginning to begin" appropriately: The history of the UK's Fisheries that John Ashworth documents in the above booklet. Here the general themes of leaving the EU and the CFP connect, see Dr. North's latest monograph for expanding this same idea from for example here, one policy area, to the entire subject of leaving the EU:-

Barrie Deas (National Federation of Fisherman's Organizations (NFFO) stated that UK's Fisheries has become "emblematic" since the question of UK membership of the EU has been put to national debate through the EU Referendum political process. This is historic and cultural and social value even if GDP value is not that significant, for very simple example:-

Does this map look familiar or sound familiar!

The BBC Shipping Forecast, was definitely something I grew up hearing, with it's strange but familiar language litany, for example:-
  • Viking
- Wind: "Easterly or southeasterly 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later."
- Sea State: "Slight or moderate." 
- Weather: "Fog patches." 
- Visibility: "Moderate or good, occasionally very poor."
The NFFO's chairman's report:
"The referendum on 23rd June, which decided that UK should leave the EU, represents a seismic change for the UK fishing industry. We are taking the view that there may be risks and pitfalls associated with this monumental change of direction but overall, this is a huge opportunity to reshape the management of our fisheries to the great benefit of our fishing industry and coastal communities. The Common Fisheries Policy has taken us down many blind alleys over the years. Now a new era beckons. This will not be without its own challenges; but the very fact that the fickle and cumbersome European co-decision process will no longer be the arbiter of our fate, is tremendously liberating." 
Bertie Armstrong (Scottish Fisherman's Federation (SFF)) makes an excellent distinction: (1st) The removal of the CFP not because they dislike rules, but because it is a system with too many rules that go wrong and hence "A Sea Of Opportunity" to revise this system in a more coherent and better managed way. He also makes the telling point that (2nd) the negotiations will be concluded at "the macro" level that for any given policy, in this case Fisheries (partly it's GDP ratio) it will not be a "pure debate" concerning the given policy in question in a political vacuum. This echoes the predictions made in FLEXCIT's introduction, (p.55 current version 13 July 2016 v.08) on the matter encapsulated in reversing the quote:-

Famously summarised by lead negotiator, Con O'Neill, he described his strategy as: "Swallow the lot, and swallow it now". which is the title component to the above monograph 12 requote.

So far I've quoted from the second session. The first session very much aligns with this quote above, from the expert witnesses:-
  • Dr. Bryce Stewart
  • Professor Richard Barnes
  • Robin Churchill
Some notes on their contribution in summary:-
  1. Discards is an area that requires resolving positively from Brexit.
  2. Access Controls are a key part of management and compromise.
  3. The degree of control over policy is deeply connected to North East Atlantic Fisheries eg (NEAFC) this is already evident with Norway and the EU cooperation for example.
  4. All 6 agree that the fundamental zone of control or EEZ aligns with UNCLOS. Robin Churchill goes through the history of this and concludes that the 12 mile border and 200 mile border or median line take effect through his interpretation of preceding subsequent EEC and derogation matters with respect to the UK's Fisheries Sovereignty. "Historic Rights" could be assessed through this perspective it seems, too, interestingly.
  5. Interconnection exists in Trade using variable economic measures in different sea food subsets eg shellfish or scollops differentials and then total percentages to the EU or other nations. Margins are often fine in multiple areas around fisherman (11,000) for example food processing or fish and chip shops rising (120,000) etc.
  6. DEFRA's responsibilities will rise at the same time as it's capacity to absorb these changes has fallen with budget cuts. Alternative funding from EU sources will have to be arranged in other areas eg Lobsters for Baronness Wilcox's constituency.
  7. The regulations that currently operate are not so easy to remove without already being in place a full substitute system, this will take a lot of time!
  8. The UK will be open to join other Fisheries "Bodies" either international bodies or nations agreements and so forth which is useful.
  9. Dr. Bryce Stewart was particularly interested in the fundamentals of a data-driven natural resource as the primary signal to economic yield, effectively sustainable stock maxima will lead to a economic yield maxima with the context of a dynamic stock that may absolutely grow and hence grow the above ratio, given the decline of Fisheries eg the pyramid base of sand eels from CFP. This had critical implications for "TAC" (Total Allowable Catch).
  10. All three strongly agreed led by Professor Richard Barnes that the UK should be some sort of "adjunct member" of the CFP as a transitional measure or for example ISIS (An Integrated Sea information System) would continue it's functions for the UK for data as one visible example.
  11. For example the current Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ's) were already a step in the right direction for reversing declines in fish stocks as some of the CFP had improved... but if you read Dr. North's latest monograph you'll see the core principles behind it's significant and long lasting failures.
Again coming back to Bertie Armstrong for a third valuable insight into a principle of regaining "control", (3rd) the perception difference is that cooperation allows compromise on access, but that the key to regaining this Policy was "prescription" as Norway currently enjoys when it allows other nations' fishing boats to fish in it's waters. This is useful policy to combine with the work of John Ashford concerning the absolute necessity to work with "immediate data" to feedback from the sustainable resource to the economic sustainable yield with the secondarily, cooperation of the actual fishermen, instead of criminalizing them. This point was further elaborated on differences in technical gear usage rules between zones (EEZ's) which the experts agreed was not necessarily a problem so long as the fishermen knew what the the rules were, given the above logic of using such equipment, eg John Ashworth's work explores this in greater detail.

Finally, perhaps I merely remember Bertie Armstrong's contributions more than the others hence I requote him again, despite the others all being very useful and informative: The key from the future of Brexit concerning Fisheries is The Positive Vision, that means the UK with it's factual assets could be become a (4th)  WORLD LEADER IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT and it's critically needed:-

Advancing conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (IUCN)

  • NOTING that nearly two-thirds of the world’s ocean is beyond national jurisdiction, and that this area provides valuable ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits;
  • CONCERNED that marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is being significantly reduced by certain human activities, and noting the need to protect biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), such as by establishing  marine reserves or other types of marine protected areas;
  • RECALLING the recommendation in the marine crosscutting theme at the IUCN World Parks Congress (Sydney, 2014) to urgently increase the ocean area that is effectively and equitably managed in ecologically representative and well-connected systems of MPAs or other effective conservation measures. This network should target protection of both biodiversity and ecosystem services and should include at least 30% of each marine habitat. The ultimate aim is to create a fully sustainable ocean, at least 30% of which has no-extractive activities;


Here's a picture of a beach I was walking along today:-

I picked up a very large bag of plastic rubbish washed up or left on the beach, mostly plastic bottles. Such a beautiful resource for the UK, I hope the future leads to more jobs looking after it.

The final point to add: As well as the "emblematic social/cultural and historic factors, the geographical and biological fact of of UK Fisheries must be the foundation from which good policy and hence good governance of this natural resource can be achieved and the relevant expertise exercised on a global and world level: Truly a positive vision.